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RIM, iOS, Android: Which App Platform Should Enterprise Mobile Developers Choose?

RIM, iOS, Android: Which App Platform Should Enterprise Mobile Developers Choose?

Summary: One thing that struck me while listening to an SAP webinar on our new mobile HR apps (registration required) was how many of the apps still ran on BlackBerries.For sure, all six of the apps run iOS.

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One thing that struck me while listening to an SAP webinar on our new mobile HR apps (registration required) was how many of the apps still ran on BlackBerries.

For sure, all six of the apps run iOS. But three of them also run on RIM phones.

Surprising? Take this recent article at SAP.info about 5 mobile apps delivered by SAP partners:

iPad - 2

BlackBerry - 1

Windows Mobile - 2(!)

Presumably, SAP, and especially these ISVs, have a good sense of what devices their potential customers are using today.

But the presumed demand on BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile devices is a little surprising, considering that both are declining with consumers.

Indeed, both are soon to be phased out by their makers in favor of successor OSes: BBX for RIM (which combines BlackBerry OS with its recently-acquired QNX) and Windows Phone 7 for Microsoft.

What's also surprising is the lack of use of Android devices for business today - at least among SAP-using companies.

Intrigued, I put out a call to mobile enterprise developers on Twitter: Which OSes are you building for today? Here are some of the responses I got:

"At a personal level, iOS and Android. As a developer I'm not wasting time with Blackberry at a personal level. However...at the corporate level, if targeting managers, we have both iOS and Blackberry users. Cannot ignore Blackberry yet. But numbers are declining." - John Moy, an SAP Mentor in Australia and developer with a large postal organization.

"Most companies acknowledge that investing in BB apps is not prudent. It's an IT checkbox. The demand is for iPhone, Android, iPad...We do have a native BB app that's rarely purchased. Most enterprises address BB coverage with our HTML5 app...Definitely wait and see on BBX. iOS5 sold 4 million devices in one weekend, that's far more interesting." - Pankaj Prasad, business development at DoubleDutch.Me, mobile enterprise app maker.

"Many (are) still stuck on BB - still viable, but progress must come quickly. Many large orgs (incl. mine) still don't support Android...Speaking with devs, Android is difficult (putting it mildly) to support across devices. Consistent experience is key...With every day that goes by, Apple is more entrenched. BBX needs a hook, eg: built-in MDM - without this, not much of a shot IMHO (in my humble opinion)." - David Hull, SAP Mentor and SAP infrastructure lead for the Walt Disney Company.

"We are seeing a lot of demand for iOS and Android enterprise app dev, but very little demand for BB." - Nathan Clevenger, chief software architect for mobile apps developer, ITR Mobility.

“Device diversity within the enterprise is expected and required by employees —especially as related to Android. The sophistication of Android devices, mixed with our large community of enterprise open source developers, drove our need to provide native Android support for BIRT [Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools]." - Nobby Akiha, Senior Vice-President of Marketing for BI vendor, Actuate Corporation. Actuate offers apps for BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.

"I think RIM platform is not viable for Enterprise Mobility looking forward - nor is Android ... the future belongs to iOS and Windows Phone...WinPhone is immature; but Microsoft is the only one left that might compete." - Bill Gravelle, independent mobile developer focused on the IBM i server platform.

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What mobile platforms are you or your developers building for today?

Topics: ÜberTech, Windows, Software Development, Software, Security, SAP, BlackBerry, Operating Systems, Mobility, Mobile OS, Hardware, Google, Apple, Android

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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3 comments
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  • RE: RIM, iOS, Android: Which App Platform Should Enterprise Mobile Developers Choose?

    Developers shouldn't limit themselves. Why build for only one platform?
    We build for as many as we can and new technologies enable us to do so. HTML5 for instance does just that.
    SinfoCOMAR
  • RE: RIM, iOS, Android: Which App Platform Should Enterprise Mobile Developers Choose?

    ... Also figures for OS installed base mentioned are only true for US and not internationally. Developers for the first time can focus on their work and not on distribution. We have the ability to upload out apps to distribution sites that also take care of billing.
    iOS might be strong in the US but RIM's App World is king elsewhere.
    SinfoCOMAR
  • RE: RIM, iOS, Android: Which App Platform Should Enterprise Mobile Developers Choose?

    ... IBM for instance publishes their apps to all services: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/connections/socialeverywhere.html
    SinfoCOMAR